Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What You Should Have Read #41

Last Week’s Comic Book Awesomeness

Spider Island: Avengers #1 – Love it! I can’t say I’m thrilled about an event while there are two other events (Fear Itself and Schism) going on in the Marvel Universe, but I’m enjoying the creativity of what’s happening. New Yorkers getting spider powers? Sure! Why not? I’m loving the light-heartedness of Chris Yost’s story, and I REALLY like that Mike McKone keeps on getting Spidey work (even though this one doesn’t actually have Spider-Man in it). And Frog-Man. I don’t remember reading anything about him during the Initiative period, but I thoroughly enjoyed the one-off Spectacular Spider-Man story (#185) by J.M. DeMatteis. At the time, I didn’t appreciate DeMatteis’s stories or Sal Buscema’s art. Looking back, these Spider-Man stories were some of the best I’ve ever read. I liked Amazing Spider-Man more at the time, but these have held up so much better. And smack dab in the middle of these great stories is a story about Spidey having dinner with not one but TWO Fabulous Frog-Men. And now FFM the younger is calling himself an Avenger, and he’s having a damn good time. Between that, Hawkeye’s frustration with his new powers, the Ultimate Spider-Men, and Squirrel Girl’s new foe, there was absolutely NOTHING to dislike about this book. Kudos to absolutely everybody involved, and I want them to do more comics together.

Thunderbolts #163 – Wooooooow, Mr. Jeff Parker. Let’s start at the beginning. The cover? What the hell. How are Namor and Cap members of the Thunderbolts? How will this play out? I’m sufficiently intrigued. Where did the missing ‘Bolts end up? I assumed, since they were in Austria, maybe they’ll be found by Baron Zemo. There ARE Nazis, so that’s not completely ludicrous. But time travel? Sure, that’ll work. Even bad guys LOVE kicking Nazi ass, so I’m in the storyline for the whole ride. Great new direction, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Thoughts on the first full wave of DC’s New 52 titles:

Action Comics #1 – I’ve always wanted to like Superman, but I can only take him for a bit, usually less than a year, before I just get bored with him. I liked this issue, so I’m hoping Grant Morrison will be able to give me the Superman stories that I’m craving…even though I don’t know what those are.

Animal Man #1 – I really liked Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man, but really, who didn’t? I tried to keep up with the hero after that, but it got too weird for me. The past few years he’s just been kind of thrown around. Nobody really knew what to do with him. Hell, he spent a good chunk of time in space. So I hope we’re going to get a firm direction going for this hero with potential. I like the little “interview” that kicks off the issue. It seems to suggest that the broad strokes of the past are pretty much intact. I like that. First off, I like the new costume. I never was a fan of orange and blue. I like where the book is going, but wasn’t this something that happened in the original series, or something similar? Maybe during Delano’s run? Can’t remember. I am interested in seeing where it’s going to go, though.

Batgirl #1 – I picked this up because I absolutely loved Secret Six, and I hoped Gail Simone would be able to bring me into the Batman Universe. Didn’t happen. There wasn’t a single thing I enjoyed about this issue, except for the bit of continuity that was kept regardless of the universe-wide reboot. That’s it. Maybe Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman can get me interested in this corner of the DCU, because this title sure didn’t.

Stormwatch #1 – This might be the book I’m most looking forward to. I absolutely LOVED Warren Ellis’ (shock there, right?) run on Stormwatch and The Authority. I think his run on these books are perhaps the best bit of superhero storytelling I’ve ever read. I then enjoyed Mark Millar’s Authority, but that’s about where my enjoyment of the title ended. I like the team, I like the premise, I just didn’t enjoy the stories. Now they’re fully enmeshed in the new DC universe. So let’s see what happens when we’ve got two Supermen and two Batmen (not counting the rest of Batman Inc. [is that even part of the New 52?]) running around the same universe. The first issue looks good enough. Old characters, new characters, a good explanation with still enough mystery to keep me coming back.

Swamp Thing #1 – I liked Scott Snyder on American Vampire, and I like what he’s doing here. I think it’s going to bring the good creepiness of Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing,” the best of “Hellblazer,” and Jamie Delano’s “Animal Man.” As with all of these titles, though, I really hope I can separate old Swamp Thing from new Swamp Thing.

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